Survey Invite: Dementia & air travel

I came across this through LinkedIn. An Australian researcher in the field of dementia is looking for experiences of how dementia affects air travel. If you are a care partner, have dementia, or work at an airline or airport, you are invited to participate. Links are at the bottom of the article.

Air travel and dementia – understanding the challenges for travellers, carers and airlines

18 June 2015

As the number of people with dementia grows it’s increasingly critical to understand its impact and how to manage it in a range of circumstances including air travel where no guidelines currently exist for airlines or airports.

Dr Maria O’Reilly, QUT Research Fellow with the Dementia Collaborative Research Centre: Carers and Consumers (DCRC:CC) has launched two surveys to ‘start the conversation’ by seeking input from people with dementia, carers, pilots, flight attendants and other airline and airport staff on their experiences.

“We know confusion can occur under high altitude conditions and that increases the risk of a person with dementia experiencing medical complications like disorientation and agitation,” Dr O’Reilly said.

“Air travel is so accessible these days and having dementia should not automatically stop an individual with dementia from flying but we need to explore the implications of flying for people with dementia, their companions, other passengers and airline and airport staff.

“The surveys, being conducted on behalf of the DCRC:CC is designed to provide ideas and strategies towards the creation of guidelines for airlines and airports and appropriate advice for travellers with dementia and their companions, as well as training for staff on how to recognise and deal with a situation involving a passenger with dementia.

“The surveys will help us understand what the barriers are to air travel for people with dementia. Guidelines exist for other impairments and dementia is not going to become less of an issue any time soon.

“There are two surveys – one for people with dementia and carers and the other for airline and airport staff. They have been put together with assistance from a panel of experts including a pilot, a former flight attendant and someone with dementia who is a seasoned traveller.”

According to Alzheimer’s Australia there are now more 342,800 Australians living with dementia, a figure that will almost triple by 2050 without a medical breakthrough.

Of these, approximately 25,100 have Younger Onset Dementia (a diagnosis of dementia under the age of 65), while around 1.2 million people are involved in the care of a person with dementia

Dr O’Reilly said the surveys take only 10-20 minutes to complete and are anonymous although participants also have the option to volunteer to be contacted by the research team for an interview.

People with dementia and their carers can access the survey on flying at http://bit.ly/1FxtoQh

The survey for airline staff can be completed at http://bit.ly/1cB7q6T

7 tips for easier air travel with dementia

Plan ahead for a smoother, more pleasant airport and flying experience.

Many Alzheimer’s patients enjoy travelling, but as the disease progresses, patients (and caregivers!) will find it increasingly difficult. These tips will help make your next air travel experience less stressful

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Safety tips for traveling alone

I came across this article on the AARP website. It must be a frightening thing to drop off a loved one with dementia at the airport, not knowing what is going to happen until they are picked up on the other side. This article is about making it as safe as you can for loved ones with dementia who are traveling alone. The tips can help the travel go smoothy and safely.  Hope these tips can help!

7 Tips for Safety When Loved Ones Travel Alone

If your older loved ones are traveling alone, there are precautions and services you, as their supporters and caregivers, can take advantage of to ensure their safety.

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Improving air transportation and services for people with mobility and cognitive problems

ICARUS stands for Innovative Changes in Air transport Research for Universally designed Services.

ICARUS is an European research project that focuses on improving access to air transportation for disabled people and the elderly. The project will contribute to initiate changes in air transport activities and services. The aim is to allow easier access to services for all citizens, by providing insights on R&D areas that might improve the air transport access issues.

The current trend towards “universal design” does not only provide access to disabled people but simultaneously improves quality of service for all users. Designing infrastructures, services and information and communication technologies (ICT) to be usable by everyone, enhances equality to any European citizen regardless his functional capabilities.
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